Before I get too far, two things:
(1) Yes, I know the below is not health or fitness related.
(2) No, I'm not going to turn this website into a baby blog.
Ok, with that being said, let's move on...
FYI - This will be post 1 of 3 in regards to cloth diapering. Today's topic is the range of diapers I tried and what I use for my regular daily rotation (or what most cloth diaper fans refer to as their "stash"). Stay tuned for a future post about cloth diapering accessories, and a final post about cloth diaper washing routines and a discussion about the "real" cost to cloth diaper versus disposables.
You know from time to time I post non health or fitness related topics on my blog. And you've also seen me post blogs about home canning, sewing costumes, and even booking my own tour of Europe. So I suppose it goes without saying that I'm kind of a do it yourself type, with a tendency to want to make things from scratch or try for traditional/old fashioned methodologies of "gettin' 'er done".
Would you be surprised to know, then, that I applied this way of "do it your-self-ing" to raising my child as well? Or, more specifically, would it surprise you to know that I've decided to use cloth diapers?
I know. You probably think I've gone off the deep end. A lot of people give me the side eye when I say we cloth diaper. Well - except for the select few who do it themselves and are in on the secret: CLOTH DIAPERING TODAY IS SUPER EASY!
Here's why: adjustable size pocket diapers
Now, I'm not going to get all crazy in this post and be like "ONLY CLOTH DIAPER - ROARRR!!!". And I'm not trying to endorse any particular style or brand of cloth diaper. What I'm talking about today is simply an outline of what I tried and what worked for me. If you like a more expensive name brand diaper, or you prefer to do 100% organic materials, or you even think diapers in general are wasteful and want to practice a diaper free lifestyle with elimination communication (yes, that is a thing) - you do you.
While you do you - Imma do me. OK? Let's go.
NOTE: click on the title of each section if you want a direct link to where I purchased each item.
To begin, I have to say, I had a little help being pushed over the edge on cloth diapering. Although I had been considering cloth diapers, I didn't really think I'd do it until:
- I received a Bububibi PUL shell from my sister
- I received a 6 pk LBB pocket set from a friend
- I ran out of all the "free" disposables I received as shower gifts
- I found out two other people in my neighborhood / peer network were also doing cloth diapering
Then, it was like magic. One day, the above four points came together, and I found myself at an impasse. Either (A) I needed to ante up tons of dough to buy MORE disposables, or (B) I could test the waters with the cloth diapers I had received as gifts and give it a go.
Since option B was free, and I knew others were doing it and surviving ...
Cloth diapering it was!
The first few days of cloth diapering took a little adjusting. At times I'd realize the hard way that I had either not tightened the diaper enough or that I was the proud parent of what many cloth diaper fans call a "heavy wetter". Eventually, after trial and error, I ended up with my favorites.
Here's a comprehensive list of what I tried, and where my favorites landed.
Pocket Diapers - My Preferred Cloth Diaper Option
Though I did try a range of cloth diaper options, as you will see outlined below, my ultimate favorite style ended up being the pocket style diaper (as you saw in the photos above). Here are the brands that I tried/own/recommend:
LBB 6 pack with microfiber inserts
This was the set that I was gifted at a "gym friends" shower. You'll notice I mention a few other brand names below, but LBB is pretty much exactly the same as Baby Goal, Alva Baby or other similar snap to fit pocket style diapers with a single leg gusset. Considering this set is fairly gender and color neutral, only costs $35.99, and qualifies for Amazon Prime - it's a nice yet cheap way to test out cloth diapering and see if it's for you. A set like this will get you more or less through a day of cloth diaper testing, but you'll need more diapers before night fall, especially if your child is a heavier wetter (microfiber is apparently notorious for requiring additional inserts in the diaper for kids who officially sleep through the night and need a more absorbent diaper solution).
Baby Goal 12 pack with charcoal bamboo inserts
After testing out the LBB set above, I did some research and discovered that charcoal bamboo inserts help prevent leaks due to having a "heavy wetting" child. They also naturally combat some of the smells that ... naturally come from a diaper. LOL! (Thanks anti-microbial, ultra absorbent bamboo!) In talking with a neighborhood friend, I was recommended to try out Baby Goal. Since their 12 pack set came with charcoal bamboo inserts, a free wet bag and reusable wipes, I decided to go for broke and ordered 2 dozen. I liked them well enough that when it came time to prepare for daycare, I ordered a third dozen from them.
Once I became a full on cloth diaper addict, I realized I wanted a few "new" diapers now and then (yes, they have become a fashion accessory in this house now). Since Alva is factory direct, you can order by the individual diaper, which appeals to someone like me who doesn't need another full dozen diapers and just wants the occasional fun, new print. Having a few Alvas in circulation now, I have to say they are definitely the best quality of all the pocket diapers I own, and I would recommend them over both the LBB and Baby Goal options above. Just be aware - these don't always come with the charcoal bamboo insert, so you may need to order replacement inserts if that's what you prefer. Also, they run a hair larger than the LBB or Baby Goal brand, but just barely so.
Pocket Diaper Supplements
Sometimes you may find that you need a secondary liner in your pocket diaper, especially if your child sleeps through the night and is wearing their cloth diaper for longer than 2-4 hours at a time. Here are the styles that I tried/own/recommend:
Zorb Inserts & Hemp Doublers & Replacement Inserts
These are my go to backups for leaking diapers. A charcoal bamboo Baby Goal diaper paired with a zorb works wonders for overnights, and a basic white microfiber LBB diaper paired with a hemp doubler is fantastic for daytime use. I highly recommend keeping some of each of these in your stash to supplement your single insert diapers. And if you have a basic white microfiber insert but just want to replace it with bamboo, go for it!
PUL Shells With Liners
In addition to trying out the above pocket diapers, I also tested out the more traditional "plastic outer and fabric inner" diaper solution. Think old school style trifolds with pins:
Of course, this style of diapering has a modern update to it, which you'll see below. Here are the brands that I tried/own:
You can probably guess why I ended up with the shell above. Here's a hint. Thanks to my sister, this was the first ever cloth diaper I owned. Technically, the above is just a shell, so I had to buy some inserts to use with it (see the PUL shell insert and prefold info below). These run a bit on the larger side and have a double leg gusset, which caused me initially to have issues with leaking out the leg holes. With the leaking, this style became less of a favorite, and that's why I settled for the pockets above - not to mention these overall cost more than the pockets. But - now as my boy is growing, I actually like these better because they're easier to put together and take apart. Ah well, since I already have a full stash of pockets, I just use the few of these I have as a supplement.
PUL shell insert
You can buy basic cotton prefolds pretty much anywhere, so I'm not going to specify a brand or link to a product here. What I will say is that during my leaking issues, I actually found that I preferred prefolds, folded in the angel wing method, with the above Bububibi shell on the outside. Yes - the tried and true, ancient cloth diaper method. From a cost perspective, prefolds are actually the most affordable way to cloth diaper (fancy PUL shells aside), are the easiest to keep clean since they are a natural fiber, and they really aren't that difficult to use. In fact, I did debate just going this route ... but in the end I decided to stick with the pockets since they would be easier for daycare (and others, like my husband) to use.
Along with the cotton prefold above, I also bought a pack of Snappis. These are the modern day version of diaper pins. See how to apply them in the prefold photo above. Since I'm not using prefolds, I pretty much never use these now. But, if I ever need to have them as a backup, I'm set.
So that's about it. The above summarizes every style of cloth diaper I tested out. In the end, my diaper stash ended up being:
3 dozen Baby Goal Pocket Diapers - $79.99 per dozen
6 LBB Pocket Diapers - $35.99 (received as a gift, so technically free)
3 Alva Pocket Diapers - About $6 each
6 Baby Goal Replacement Charcoal Bamboo Inserts - $16.99
6 Hemp Doublers - $13.50
5 Zorb Inserts - $18.50
4 Bububibi Shells - About $8 each (received as gifts, so technically free)
6 Best Bottom Inserts - $11.85 per 3 pack
6 Basic Cotton Prefolds - Price varies by brand (received as a gift, so technically free)
5 Snappis - $12.99
If you were to add up all of the above, my total cost to test out cloth diapering and then invest in a stash of the style I preferred was under $450 ... or about 3 months +/- worth of disposable diapers. Considering, though, that I didn't technically NEED the Alva diapers, received several of the above items as gifts, and could have easily eliminated the Bububibi items and accompanying inserts/snappis ... a decent cloth diapering stash that you could live off of would cost closer to the $300 mark. You could even get that down below $200 if you only ordered two dozen of the Baby Goal diapers, which would be plenty for an at home stash ... but I say $300 in the event that you want to cloth diaper at daycare too.
Of course $300 doesn't factor in the costs of additional accessories (which I'll talk about next) and washing (which I'll talk about in a few days). But even if you throw those costs in and round your overall investment up to the equivalent of about 6 months worth of disposable diapers, a cloth diaper set up kind of seems like a no brainer versus paying for at least 2-3 years of disposable diapers. And that doesn't even factor in the added benefits of less garbage to the landfill, less chemical exposure to your child, etc, etc, etc.
But more on those topics later. For today, we'll call it. More to come!
So ... what do you think? Would you be interested in cloth diapering given the above? What are your favorite brands? Feel free to comment below.